Wiki Master

The original text of this page is duplicated at WikiMasterOriginal. Written in the midst of Wiki's first growth spurt, the page reminded contributors that once they truly understood wiki they would author less and edit more. The page contained only eight words...

Wiki Masters add value by removing that without.

In the style of TheElementsOfStyle, the page tried hard to be an example of the advice it gave. That is, it had many words removed. Strunk and White offered related and similarly abrupt advice in four words:
Let every word tell.

See also: PerfectionIsAchieved.

Seek Brevity, Priority, Inclusion.

The Wiki Master's hand should be so subtle that the original author delights at how clearly and compactly he expressed himself.

A Wiki Master recognizes the need for evolution of the medium.

(For instance a page should not contain links to itself. The CGI could be a bold or italicized or simply underlined non-link.)

Sometimes a WikiButcher, less perfect than a Wiki Master, removes content that others think is valuable.

A Wiki Master corrects without complaining and negotiates with subtle action rather than lengthy words.

A Wiki Master sorts more salient information and more cogent text toward the top of the page.

There are Wiki Masters, and I believe I am one. I have been anonymously editing pages since the first year of wiki and nobody has ever complained. I have never criticized anybody anonymously. In fact, I rarely criticize anybody in public. If the message is signed, I respond by e-mail. If it is not signed, I wait a week, and then if I still think it is necessary, I refactor. "Refactor" does not mean "delete"! Nobody who makes anonymous criticisms is a Wiki Master. Nobody who makes major changes without thinking carefully is a Wiki Master. One of the secrets of being a WikiMaster is doing as little as possible to achieve maximum effect. Some understand Wiki quickly, some understand slowly, some sadly will never fully understand Wiki.

"Noise" means things that are not interesting (and it's a good thing we have a Wiki Master to decide what's interesting for us!). I have a wide tolerance for noise. I find most of the eastern philosophy that has been a part of wiki from the beginning to be "noise". But in the past, most pages in RecentChanges were about software. Now most of them are not. To me, the signal to noise ratio has gone down dramatically. In this situation, a WikiMaster will avoid touching pages that are just noise, and will look for old pages that are full of signal and touch them to bring them to the top again. There are many ways to be a WikiMaster without changing what others have written. -- RalphJohnson

One man's noise is another's music. Whilst WikiNoise is typically a bad thing, noise can inspire people and generate new ideas. YourNoiseIsMySignal?.

Does not a Wiki Master perform his edits in a truly Taoist manner? His edits refactor without mercy, delete infrequently, and refine constantly - to increase the SignalToNoise ratio.

Wiki is a wide open forum. There is always going to be plenty of meaningless junk to counteract the good content provided by - or edited into - people's contributions. The common fear is that no Wiki Master will be able to keep up with the fluff that some useless fool can spread. Pity, but move on. Things are tough all over.

To counter-argue that see PerpetualNow.

In SotoZen I learned "Enlightened action leaves no wake". In the Vajrayana of Tibet, I discovered "Obliterate! Annihilate completely!" Now, I breathe into the stabbing pain at the base of my neck. -- BenTremblay

A Wiki Master discerns between trash and manure. Trash is just that. Manure, on the other hand, can be transformed into compost.

A Wiki Master is Wise, and sees content for the value it holds, not for what it says.


It's the Journey, not the Destination (that others will see and try to replicate).

This page is incomplete without these five words: "there are no wiki masters".

Heh. Perhaps, but we'll be overrun by our sophomoric traditions (God is dead! - Yes, very good, FriedrichNietzsche. Run along now) if we succumb to that kind of humility which includes keeping others down. I just did it myself with the Zarathustra, didn't I? Stink. Anyway, since we only live so long and those who are children can bloviate alongside the verbose masters, I'm going to take this page as a heartening guide.

No true master would ever admit to being anything but a student.

 He who speaks
 does not know

He who knows does not speak -- Lao-tzu

This quotation from Lao-tzu is very strange. If knowledgeable people do not speak, then the information is locked away in the knowledgeable person's brain, making it selfish. Shouldn't knowledgeable people share information selflessly (or charge a small fee for a book since BooksAreClosedSource)? What Lao-tzu was saying is that people who talk too much don't always know much, but to say that knowledgeable people do not speak, is false.

On the other hand, if you really can do it, it's not bragging. -- SimonPeterChappell

A true master likes reading more than editing. It's purpose is only better reading next time.

See CookDing, WikiMasterDiscussion, WikiMasterOriginal, WikiButcher, WikiReductionist, PerpetualNow, ConceptDestruction, BalancingReadersWritersAndEditors

CategoryWikiMaintenance, CategoryWikiUser

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